MANCHESTER — Pizza and neighborhood favorites will return to south Elm Street in the new year.
The name has a familiar ring to it: Elm House of Pizza, a longtime favorite of baby boomers in the Queen City in the 1970s.
Tim Baines, owner of Mint Bistro, partnered with Bob Scribner to open at the former Theo’s Pizza and Restaurant at 102 Elm St. The space was most recently Fridas Tacos and Tequila, a Mexican restaurant, which closed.
“The secret is out,” Baines wrote when announcing the new restaurant on his Facebook page last week.
“We are excited to be bringing a great pizza place, neighborhood bar and gathering place to this end of town,” Baines wrote in a text message. More details, including its menu, will be released in the coming weeks. The restaurant is expected to open in mid-January.
The former Elm House of Pizza operated down the street at 866 Elm St., where it still shows up in a MapQuest search despite being closed for decades. The space also housed Joe Kelly’s and most recently Matbah Mediterranean Cuisine, which closed in April.
Joe Kelly Levasseur, an alderman at large, bought Theo’s from the Gallos family in 2009. He operated Theo’s for 10 years before closing last year after having a tough time finding employees, he said.
Some of Theo’s menu staples will return, including its dressing and chicken lemon rice soup, according to Levasseur, who still owns the property and will lease it to the new partnership. He offered up the recipe to the new owners.
“I received a lot of calls asking for me to reopen,” Levasseur said. “There is a huge demand for Theo’s chicken lemon rice soup, which is going to be a part of their menu. A couple other Theo’s staples are going to be on the menu. The minute they open the door there is going to be a line.”
The Gallos first owned Elm House of Pizza at 866 Elm St. before selling it to open Second Street House of Pizza (which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1993, according to the Union Leader archives). They eventually bought the Happy House Pizza at 102 Elm St. and renamed it Theo’s.
Levasseur recommended Elm House of Pizza or Happy House Pizza as the name as a salute to the past. The group chose Elm House of Pizza.
“A lot of people who are in their 60s-70s-80s all remember that name,” he said.
The announcement has received a lot of attention on social media.
“The tradition is going to go on, and I think there is going to be a lot of exciting things that are going to occur down at that location over the next couple of years,” Levasseur said.